The highlighted comment label first appeared in 2016. It got my attention after I realized that my YouTube comments were failing to post whenever the label was visible, as shown in my video demo reproducing the problem.
Up until this time nobody knew what the label meant and as you would expect, that question came up a lot in the comment section of that particular video.
Being a new YouTube feature that had been rolled out in Google’s typical ambiguous fashion, I couldn’t answer that question authoritatively. Since then, however, I’ve understood what highlighted comments with the help of some comments left on the video and on the aforementioned post.
I’ll do this in a FAQ format. If you prefer a video explanation, you can watch the video tutorial I’ve embedded below (a subscribe to this blog’s channel would be much appreciated).
What is the Highlighted Comment Tag?
Highlighted Comments is a label or tag that you see when you click to view or reply to a comment when you’re not in a video’s comment thread.
In most cases you could be coming from the new activity YouTube notification that you get on your email or from the notifications on your YouTube dashboard including the notification bell:
1. New Activity Notification Email
2. YouTube’s Dashboard Comment Section
3. YouTube’s Notification Bell
What about the Highlighted Reply?
The tag comes in two flavors: a Highlighted comment and Highlighted reply.
The two work the same way and serve the same purpose, the only difference is the type of the comment: the highlighted reply only appears when the target comment is a reply.
What is the purpose of Highlighted Comments?
The tag’s purpose is simply YouTube’s way of pointing out to you a specific comment. That’s precisely why they called it a highlighted comment.
It all starts when your comment or a comment thread you’re on gets some new activity in the way of a new comment or reply. YouTube usually notifies you of this new activity through your email, the notification bell or the comment section in your YouTube dashboard.
In all these cases, if you click to view or reply to the comment, YouTube takes you to the comment thread of the video in question and highlights the specific comment or reply.
This feature is therefore simply for our convenience and perhaps to promote more engagement in the comment section.
Take for instance a video with a thousand or more comments. If you opened that video the usual way, it would take you some time to sift through all the comments just to find your previous comment or a new reply.
But with this feature, the new activity notification opens the YouTube video in question and automatically takes you to the specific comment while “highlighting” it just to tell you, “this is what brought you here”.
You can even trigger this tag right from the comment thread. Just click on the time stamp on any comment and you should get a Highlighted label.
Who is doing the Highlighting?
First and foremost, it’s not the creator of the video. Other than the new features introduced (pinning comments at the top and loving a comment) the creator can only moderate comments (approve, hide, remove or mark spam).
The “highlighting” is done automatically by YouTube depending on how you’ve opened the video as explained above.
Can I Remove or Disable Highlighted Comments?
The simple answer to this is that it’s not possible. YouTube does this automatically, depending on how you’ve opened a particular video.
However, a temporary solution you could try is by editing the video’s URL to remove the parameter that’s added to the normal YouTube link then reload the video.
For instance, the video URL where the highlighted label is showing will be something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo5h411G5Sk&lc=z12rhv1yatubiprsw23hwvkzxxvtd1mlmA YouTube video URL with added parameter
The parameter is the part in red starting with the ampersand symbol (&). Remove that part so that you’ve the normal YouTube video link as follows then reload the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo5h411G5SkA YouTube video URL without parameters
Alternatively, you can just log out from your Google account and browse YouTube “anonymously”. By doing this, you should be assured of not seeing any highlighted comments.
Are Highlighted Comments bad?
Absolutely not. If that were true, technically that would make all comments potentially bad. The highlighted tag shows up irrespective of the comment’s subject. With that said, this does raise privacy questions, especially with regard to tracking.
So I hope this somewhat answers this question.